Brussels, 24 October 2017
Luxembourg, Ministers of Labour have reached a consensus on the issue of posted workers
In Luxembourg, a common stand – the so called General Approach – of the European Council concerning the revision of the Posted Workers Directive has been achieved during the meeting of the Ministers of Management under the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO). New rules of posting employees in the transport industry will be synchronised with Lex Specialis and shall be introduced together with the regulation concerning this industry. Until such regulation is prepared, the existing provisions of the Directive from 1996 are binding.
During the meeting in Luxembourg, Poland, Hungary, Lithuania and Latvia voted against the revision of the Posted Workers Directive. Great Britain, Ireland and Croatia abstained from voting. Representatives of Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia supported by Spain and Portugal advocated excluding transport industry from the revision.
Finally, just before midnight, the consensus was achieved. It comprises long-term posting of workers for 12 months with a possibility of prolonging it for a company’s request by another 6 months. The 12-months period was proposed by France. Later, a possibility of prolonging it to 18 months was added. There will be a 4-year-long transition period – 3 years of exposition and 1 year of application. The yesterday’s agreement on the Council’s stand opens the door for further negotiations with the European Parliament and to reaching a final agreement.
Currently, there are 3 liberties in the common European market – flow of labour, capital and goods. This shows that the free market exists only there, where it is the “Old Union” who profits. Only the 4th liberty – flow of services – doesn’t work because it is favourable for us and the Central-East Europe – stated Cezary Kaźmierczak, the President of ZPP.
For the moment, the revision of the Posted Workers Directive does not concern the transport industry, for which regulations will be specified in a separate Lex Specialis. The Parliament is supposed to start works over the regulations in the transport industry by the end of this year.
Postponing works over regulations in the transport services industry is a good information for Polish companies from the sector. However, we believe that this matter should not be considered on the European level at all. It interferes with the principle of free competition among entities from different countries – said Marcin Nowacki, the vice-President of ZPP. – We do not agree that the rule of “the same wage for the same work” should apply to the service sector. Posted Workers Directive is an example of such a regulation.
We are against restrictions in the transport industry. On the other hand, some of the Member countries, especially France, even now hamper entering companies providing services, including transport companies, to their markets. It is obviously contradictory to the European provisions regulating access to those markets – added a ZPP expert.
Last week, the Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Commission of the European Parliament adopted a proposal of a posting time of 24 months. The same week, on Thursday, after the meeting of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy with French President Emanuel Macron, the French proposition for the duration of posting of workers, presented in Luxembourg, was 12 months. Proposition of Estonian President presented at EPSCO was 20 months, which was later changed into 18 months with a 4-year-long transition period.
Another meeting of the leaders of the Member Countries concerning the social affairs is planned for 17 November in Gothenburg. The meeting will not focus on posted workers, it will concentrate on the employment market, social rights and, most importantly, on regulations concerning the heavy commercial vehicles drivers travelling between the Member Countries.